Monday, November 30, 2009

Birthdays In Heaven

Dear Mom,

Even with all the company over the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn't forget that Saturday was your birthday. Once I had a chance to sit down and relax, I tried to envision your face and how you handled this hectic time of year.
How in the world did you ever feed the nine of us? And Christmas! wow! I cannot begin to imagine the saving and planning that went into giving us gifts and a wonderful tree. But, we were never disappointed. We never felt cheated. There was always a magic that settled in our house and your love made it all possible.
Even after all the people I have met and the places I have been, you are still the kindest woman I've ever known. You were unselfish, tender, soft-spoken, and compassionate. Even while you were battling cancer for twenty years, your positive attitude and gentle concern for others never faltered.
Even though I'm middle aged, there are times I still need you. Times when I must make an important decision, or I'm lonely, or I just wish I could hear your voice again to soothe me. We could go to yard sales or fry up pork chops or watch our soap operas while pigging out on ice cream. We could talk about the things you did as a child and all the things you wanted to do as an adult.
I would also like to know what dreams you had for me. I hope I've made you proud.I never made it big or rich, but I found a wonderful husband and have fantastic children and adorable grand children. And in all areas of life, I strive to be even half as kind as you were.
This morning I'm going to celebrate your birthday by making some of your famous French Toast. I'm gonna dip the bread in egg mixture and then roll it in crumbled corn flakes. Yum...Cook it till crispy and flood it with real butter and maple syrup.
And then I'm gonna sip my black coffee by the window and watch the world go by and miss you like crazy.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you still.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When Pondering Turns To Panic

As if the season of festive decorating
and gift giving wasn't enough to send me
over the edge, I now ponder the fact
that I must prepare a Thanksgiving meal
that is edible.

To most, it might seem simple enough,
but nothing can top the delectable
that was served last year by my sister-in-laws.

Two weeks before the feast, I received
a beautiful envelope in my mailbox.

Adorned with a cornucopia of
glittered fruits and golden script,
I eagerly opened it to find an elegant invitation.
A menu was attached,
beautifully handwritten in calligraphy
on heavy parchment.
It read:

"You and your family are invited to join us
for our Thanksgiving celebration. Please come
and gather around our table in blessing of
this holiday."

Then the real kicker came!
The Menu:

Fresh Succulent Roast Turkey with Apple Glaze
Oyster Stuffing with Sage and Mushrooms
Peppered Turkey Gravy
Holiday Whipped Potatoes with Creamy Butter Sauce
Herb Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan-Pepper Toast
Pumpkin Risotto with Shrimp
Candied Sweet Yams with Maple Pecan Chutney
Whole Steamed Green Beans with Country Ham
Savory Roast Vegetables on a bed of Wild Rice
Sweet Corn with Toasted Croutons
Cheddar Broccoli Spears
Yeast Rolls and Homemade Sweet Butter Bread
will be served

Then came :
The Desserts:
Gourmet Gala Cheesecake with Orange Rum Sauce
Triple Layer Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Heavenly Sinful Lemon Chiffon Pie
Black Forest Souffle'
Mincemeat Pie with Georgia Walnuts
All served with Freshly Whipped Cream

There was more:

"We ask that you stay as our overnight guests and join us for Breakfast/Brunch.
We will be serving:

Puff Pancakes with Summer Berries
Sunrise Burritos and Artichoke Frittata
Ham and Swiss Cheese Biscuits with Red Eye Gravy
Country Ham Slices with Brown Sugar Glaze
Peppered Bacon and Maple Sausage Links

Needless to say, I am in a panic!
I have to invite them to MY house this year!

Here's a copy of the invitation I sent them:
(Scribbled on construction paper with a black Sharpie)

"  If you want, you can come over here on Thanksgiving
and eat with us. We will be setting up card tables on the
front porch so bring your heavy coats."

The Menu:

Oven Roasted Generic Brand Turkey
with red Pop-up Timer still intact
(with Burnt Breasts and Raw Thighs)
A Couple Cans of Green Beans
A can or Two of Corn
Stovetop Stuffing
Instant Mashed Potatoes with Cheap Imitation Butter
Frozen Chopped Broccoli with Melted Velveeta
Gravy from a Jar

Desserts will include:

Two boxed Pumpkin Pies
A Year-Old Fruitcake
Homemade Fudge that Never Got Firm
All served with a huge tub of Cool Whip

"And if you want to camp out in the garage, you can stay for breakfast.
We will be having:"

Cheerios and Ding Dongs

Happy Thanksgiving To All!!


Special thanks to my dear sister Jewel
who saved this "oldie" that I wrote years ago-
and suggested I use it as a blog post.
It kept me from wracking my brain
for new material this morning!

Thanks also to my three sister-in-laws
from Nashville, Tenn. who inspired
this writing. I may have taken liberties
and exaggerated a bit- But, Man- they
sure can cook!!!

And thanks ahead to all those family
members who will be gathered at
my table on Thursday-
for realizing that I am neither
Martha Stewart or Julia Child
and if you don't like paper plates
and Styrofoam cups,
you can find the front door
(or the tip of my boot-
whichever comes first).

Thank you to my readers
and critics and invisible eyes
for being part of my rantings
and my odd humor.
I'll be back on Monday.
I am taking a few days off to
pig-out renew my creative energy.

Have a blessed holiday!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beneath The Stuffing

This morning I got to thinking-
(I do that sometimes, you know)-
that it is so easy to spout off
all those wonderful things
that you're thankful for.

Kinda like an Academy Award speech:
"I'm thankful for my husband and children
and family and car and house and boat
and food and sunshine and cell phone
and and all that good stuff..."

But I decided it would be
so much more interesting and creative
if today I would talk about
all those things I am
NOT thankful for.

if you are Miss Positive, 
Mrs. Sickening Sweet, 
Naturally Beautiful, 
or Overly Blessed-
you may not want to partake
in this depressing load of crap.

I'm NOT thankful for :

  • Drivers in this town that think the middle turn lane is a "speed up and drive to beat me" lane.
  •  The way a squeeze bottle of mustard forms a greenish scab around the plug if you don't clean it regularly.
  • People who turn on their Christmas lights before WalMart even discounts the Halloween merchandise.
  • Deer in my headlights
  • Ladies adult sweats that feature the Loony Tunes.
  • Shopping for a pair of dress boots and realizing you only have three options: Tire-tread goth wear, 5 inch stilettos, or I'm over 50 and require these Velcro straps.
  • Victoria's Secret ads.(Makes us normal women look like trolls).
  • Getting almost home and realizing Burger King forgot to give you the fries, one drink, and the extra Whopper.
  • Cleaning up after the Thanksgiving meal
  • Hot flashes. (I can warm up my coffee to 110 degrees if I hold it long enough).
  • Bratty kids in the grocery store whose noses are spouting yellow snot and they're touching all the produce.
  • The printer running out of ink at the moment you desperately need something printed. (Never, ever does it when you're copying coloring pages for the grand kids).
  • Mirrors
  • Generic perfumes that claim to smell just like the famous expensive brands and actually smell like the unisex bathroom down at Casey's gas station.
  • Under wire bras. ( especially ones with barbed wire!)
  • Zip to Open plastic bags that really mean Take A Giant Butcher Knife To Get Me Open.
  • Those stupid yodeling Ricola commercials.
  • Watching The Godfather for the thousandth time.
  • Hair dressers that think a trim means playing Edward Scissorhands for thirty minutes.
  • Women who flaunt their cleavage like it's a new pet.
  • Cashiers, bank tellers, operators, attendants, or any public employee that apparently missed job orientation the day they studied Smiling.
  • People with bluetooths that think they are cool and important because they have loud laughing conversations with invisible people in the line at the grocery store.
  • Totally cooking a chicken and finding a little paper bag of guts inside while carving it.
  • Celery or carrots after hiding three months in the crisper
  • Eating almost an entire hot dog and realizing with the final bite- that the bun was kinda green.
  • Tubes of toothpaste that are too full to throw away yet, but too empty to get anything out of.
  • Unannounced company that arrives just when you got comfy in your pajamas and favorite chair.
  • Raking leaves, shoveling snow, mowing grass
  • Untangling Christmas lights
  • Photographs. (In most of them I know I look like Smeagol from the Hobbit! ).
So, you see,
I have put a new twist on
the Thanksgiving tradition.

And if you think I'm being 
a Negative-Nancy-
just wait till I 
write my Bah-Hum-Bug post!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Erin!

Journal Entry
Monday, November 26, 1979

I opened my eyes and there you were-
Soft like a rainbow after the storm.
Love swelled up inside my heart-
I held you, kissed you, kept you warm.

And all the waiting days are over-
You are in my arms at last-
Though I cherish every moment
of the seasons that have passed.

I need you, baby daughter-
You have made my life complete-
No words can spell the magic-
No one can know how sweet
your existence is to me...

I love you, Erin Marie.
I love you.

On November 20, 1979, your life began.
The day was cloudy- the sky a soft gray- the winter trees dotted with crisp clinging leaves.But you brought sunshine and smiles with you. You made my life begin also.
At 6:11 Tuesday, you cried for the first time. I held you on my belly as you wriggled red and wildly to announce your entrance into this world.
How perfect. How beautiful. How lovable, How real. How in the world? What a miracle! What a precious gift from God.
We brought you home at 11:30 Wednesday, just barely a day old, we carried you gently through the November rain to the warm basket we prepared for you.
You are such a good baby. How have I ever managed to go through life without you? How did I wait so long for such complete happiness?
When I hold you, I love you more each moment. I will do anything to protect you. I will love you always, my baby daughter. I will never, ever forget the day you were born.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Squat For a Pot

I guess most of you know by now
that I'm not just here to blog
about things that disturb or
delight me.

I'm here to inform you all
of important events and happenings
in this big old world
that you just might not
be aware of.

Such as...
Today is World Toilet Day.

The World Toilet Organization
is a global non-profit
organization that is committed to
improving toilet and sanitation

An event named "the Big Squat"
has been organized to call attention to this need.

Watch here:

I guess I never really thought about
how lucky I am to have a toilet.

Yes, I have.

All those times when my stomach
started to do loop-dee-loops
while I was driving down the interstate.
Or about five minutes after eating
from the salad bar at Pizza Hut.
Or New Years Eve when the
Little Smokies,
chocolate cheesecake,
and tequila
curdled in my stomach.

Yes, you could say
I'm a really lucky girl.
Blessed, in fact.

But for those of you that
want to contribute to others
less fortunate in the bathroom department,
there is actually a World Toilet College.

Here's their education lineup:

WTC offers the following programmes:

There was even a contest in Cambodia
to bring extra awareness to the situation.
Contestants were asked to write an essay
that would be appropriate for
television or radio spots-
that would promote better sanitation
and influence individuals to invest
in private toilets.

The WTO describes the winning entry:

The top five submissions were presented to government officials from Kampong Speu who selected Mr. Veng Meng Keang as the top prize winner (US$250). Ms. Im Molika was awarded second prize (US$150), and Ms. Heang Vattey third prize (US$100). Mr. Veng's winning submission was a storyline for TV or radio, telling the tale of a man without a toilet who becomes embarrassed when the young daughter of a visitor needs to urinate, and she refuses his offer to take her to the forest. After stepping in poop while walking on his land and realizing it is his, he decides it is time to finally buy his family a toilet.


You can tell I'm stretching
for a suitable blog subject today,
can't you?

But at least you know
how to do the squat.
So don't say I never taught
you anything.

Well, folks-
I've done all I can do here today.
I think I'll go clean my toilet...

And while I'm up to my
rubber gloves
in bits of fecal matter
and stale urine
and those little pesky hairs that stick
to the porcelain-
I'll pause a moment after the ammonia
and bleach has ripped out my lungs-
and think about
what a lucky gal I am...

Happy World Toilet Day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Farewell To Magic

I'm saying goodbye to
an old friend today.

It's very sad,
but Mr. Magic Chef
lost his magic long ago.
It was only a matter of time
before he no longer
satisfied my hunger.

(But, we sure had a good time,
didn't we, Magic?)

Oh, yeah, once upon a time
he was hot.
Sizzlin' in fact.
Bold and bright
and ready to cook up
any kind of fun.

We spent many late summer nights
baking in the intense heat,
sweating like young lovers
over pepperoni Pizza Rolls.

And many cold winter days
simmering hot chocolate
or stirring the stew.

He was always there for me.
Even when I didn't need him.
Even when I snubbed him a little
by spending more time with
Emerson- my microwave.

But even Emerson understood
my love affair with Weber-
and he kindly sat back
and watched while we
grilled and smoked
in the privacy of my back yard.

I guess I was fickle-
Never really loyal to any of them.
I just got tired of the same old
techniques and mechanical routine.

Magic Chef started looking old.
His burners were battered,
his clock was slow,
and each day it became
more and more difficult
to turn him on.

Believe me, I tried.
Resorted to a clicker,
a lighter,
a propane torch-
anything that might stimulate
the flames once again.

it was too late.
Magic Chef  had already given up.
Most days he just laid there
and did nothing.

I suppose you might think badly of me,but I'm moving on with my life.
In fact, Frigidaire is
out in my garage right now,
waiting to come in
and heat things up.

He looks sooooo good.
Sleek- clean cut-
with an edgy modern style-
I just know he'll make me happy!

I look forward to many
steamy nights-
broiling and seething
and simmering-
toasting and brewing
and fricasseeing ...

Hey- is it getting hot in here-
or is it just me?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feeling Blank

There are days
when I just don't want to write.

Days that remind me
that there are chores to do-
and thoughts to think-
and places to go-
far away from the
comfort and escape
of my computer.

Today is trash day.
How can I think of blogging
when there are wet coffee grounds
and chicken bones
and curdled cottage cheese
waiting to be carried
to the curb?

There are wilted pumpkins
at my doorstep-
like melted plastic
they lean lopsided and lonely-
soggy and sad-
and no longer loved.

My garden is dead.
The posts from the
pole beans need unearthed
and stored away till
the ground is tilled
next year.

There are places to paint-
corners and cavities
on the bedroom wall
that I missed a month ago
and keep forgetting.

My bath tub has a soap ring.
Not disgusting
or black
or out of control.
Just a slight haze of dust
that begs to be erased.

My cabinets need organized.
My garlic salt is stopped up,
the brown sugar is concrete,
and the date on my baking powder
expired a year ago.

I need to wash hunting clothes
and sheets
and mop the kitchen
and scrub the toilets
and sweep the garage
and put away the
Halloween decorations
and bring my Christmas tree
from the attic.

I need to store away the swing,
clean the grill,
clear the leaves from the deck,
fill the bird feeders
and wash the car.

Is it any wonder
that I can't write today?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's Blog Is Just A Bunch Of Sheet

I always
get requests
for certain blog subjects.

But my dear southern
sister-in-law, Rose,
asked that I do some
research into buying bed sheets.
(She must have liked the research I did
about the turkeys with big boobs!)

This intrigued me so much
that I decided to put off
the laundry,
and emptying the
week-old spaghetti from the fridge-
just to entertain her curiosity.

I was curious, too.
Who hasn't had to buy new sheets
and was bombarded by the choices?
It's totally overwhelming.

First off, let me say
that all you snobs out there
who wear stickers on your foreheads
that brag about your 1200 thread count sheets,
aren't impressing me at all.
Not any more.

TPI, or threads per inch,
means the number of threads
woven together in a square inch.
For example,
100 threads lengthwise
and 100 threads width wise
produces a thread count of 200.

The more threads in an inch,
usually means the softer the feel.
But the material of those threads
can also be a factor
on whether your sheets feel like
sand paper- or velvet.

COMBED COTTON: A cleaning process that eliminates impurities and short, less desirable fibers. 
Don't confuse Sateen Cotton with "satin". It has none. 
It is only the name given to the texture 
of the woven cotton.

MUSLIN: Considered to be low end of the cotton line. Usually rough.

PERCALE: For those that love a  crisp, ironed sheet. A smooth, flat, closely woven and combed fabric that comes in 100% cotton or 50/50 cotton/poly blends.Found in the 180-200 TPI range.

PIMA or SUPIMA: A high quality cotton whose long fiber staple is somewhat similar to that of Egyptian cotton. Very soft. TPI 200-300.

EGYPTIAN COTTON:  Grown alongside the river, this  cotton owes its superior durability, luster, and silky hand feel to its extra long fiber staple. TC counts range from 200-400.

Yet,some TPI claims can be misleading.
There are some manufacturers that weave
two or three ply fibers together.
And when they put these 100
three-ply fibers in a square inch,
they label the sheet as having 600 thread count.

However, according to
Consumer Reports,
buying anything over 400 count
is a waste of money.
There's just not that much difference.

The extra ply fibers
only tend to make the sheet heavier,
which does not necessarily
make it softer.

The best way to choose a sheet
is by feeling it first.
Most packages now days have a
side zipper that allows the consumer
to touch the fabric before purchasing.

My research shows that most people
prefer the crisp, cool, old fashioned
type of sheet made by Wamsutta.
Bed, Bath and Beyond sells them online.

Studies say that most people should own
at least three sets of sheets for each bed.
One to put on the bed,
one to have ready and waiting,
and one in the laundry.
They also recommend buying extra pillow cases
because facial oil, makeup, hair,
and other factors tend to
wear the cases out sooner than the sheets.

Of course, you have to realize
that if you wear a potato sack to bed,
the texture of your sheets won't
really matter.
Choosing pajamas can be an important
factor of a good night's sleep.

So- there you have it, Rose.
Not nearly as interesting
as well-endowed poultry,
but a tidbit of info
that might help this shopping season.
Glad you asked.
Hope it helped.

My housework is calling now.

But, you know what?
I think I'll just go back to bed.

My 250 thread count
poly-cotton sheets
are calling a whole lot louder.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Capturing Time

Photographs and video
are perhaps the greatest
invention made by man.

How else would we
remember special moments,
years gone by,
days that are no more?

I get emotional over photos.
You really don't want to
get me digging through boxes
of baby pictures,
family photographs,
or old snapshots.
It brings me to tears.
Some happy.
Some sad.
But all touch me in some way.

The past few days I've been
working on a Movie Maker project.
My daughter Erin asked me to
put together some photos and video
for Bob's mom.
(see June 25th post)

Someday maybe I'll share it.
But for now-
it's just too raw-
too painful.
I'm in a blue funk now
that's been hard to shake.
I've been crying in front of
my computer all week.

How wonderful pictures are!
But, yet, how they can also haunt you.

I wish I had taken photos
early in my life.
Wish I would have had a camera
when I was a teenager.
Snapping pictures of hippies
and girl parties at Nancy's
and the phases of my Mom's
remissions with cancer.

In the November issue of
Country Living Magazine,
there was a great article
about a photographer named
Pam Spaulding.
She spent thirty years photographing
a family and chronicling their lives.

There's a black and white photo dated 1987
with the mother helping her four year old
daughter put on a dress for her birthday party.

Next to it is a black and white photo
of the little girl, now 17-
and her Mom is helping her with her prom dress.

That kind of thing gets me.
Puts a lump in my throat.
Makes me wish I had the forethought
to snap pictures of my kids
(and grand kids) at milestones
in their lives.

But I realize it's not too late.

I could take some pictures now
that will live on -
That will make future generations
laugh, or cry, or reminisce
about days gone by.

I can freeze time.
I can record life.
I can leave a memory behind.
                                                                        (Click photo to enlarge)

this is just to say-
dust off that camera this holiday season-
take pictures and video of
everything and nothing-
of the turkey
and the dog
and your kids playing Wii.
Of the front yard
and the pumpkin pie
and the Christmas tree being trimmed.
Of smiles
and laughter
and tears
and time...

Someday you'll be glad you did.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Be The Tree and Other Impossible Feats


Yesterday was a holiday for some.
(Bless you, Vets!)

And while some were
taking advantage of the quiet evening
with a good TV show
or a nice nap,
I was in the woods
dressed in camo.

And not only was
my wardrobe atrocious,
but the lengths I went to
to please my husband,
were right up there -
pretty dang close to crazy.

"It will be fun," he said.
"You can take your camera," he said.
"Oh, come on!" he said.

And I did.

Layering myself with
thermal long johns,
leaf-patterned jogging pants,
a full head mask, and
a bulky body harness
was enough to alert
the fashion police
that a major crime
was happening.

I looked like an old Hulk-
green and sour
and a little clumsy.

we proceeded to walk out
across the field-
the cool fresh air hitting my face...
sweet little birds singing...
leaves rustling beneath our feet...

I thought,
"This aint bad."

But bad came soon enough.

poised like a metal giant in the woods,
was a seventeen foot tree stand.

A two-man tree stand,
to be exact.

And I was one of those men.

I knew it was too late
to go back.
(Besides, I'd never be able
to get out of the harness by myself.)

So I climbed the ladder,
(shaking like those paint mixers
at Home Depot),
watching closely as every single
finger opened and closed
around the rungs.

Somehow I reached the top.
I don't remember.
I think my mind blotted it out
due to the extreme shock
on my system.

I sat down immediately,
grabbing onto a tree limb
just in case that metal stand
buckled like melting wax
or bent like rebar in an earthquake.

(This is my knee.
See it shaking?")

But my husband just kept moving around.
Dancing, actually.

Or at least it felt that way.

"Good golly, sit down!" I whispered.

That's another thing.
No talking.
No moving.
No turning up my
generic iPod to where
I could actually hear it.
No beeping of my camera.
No coughing, sneezing, or farting.
No complaining, crying,
or sleeping.


"Be the tree," he told me.
"Just be the tree."

It wasn't long before
a few deer showed up to the left,
never coming close enough
for a good bow shot,
but making a decent excuse
to use my camera-
(as quietly as possible.)

We sat.

And sat.

And sat.

My feet fell asleep.
My butt was numb.
I had a tickle in my throat
that was purring like a wild cat
wanting to be released like a scream
into the autumn air.
My stomach growled.
My neck was stiff.

A thousand and two cockle burs
were attached to my pants and coat.
And when I started picking them off,
I got a "Shhhhh!!!!!" from
the Big Deer Hunter That Wouldn't Quit Being The Dam Tree.
You know-
how loud could a cockle bur be?

Three hours later,
the sun went down-
the deer disappeared,
and my hands were cold.
And it was finally time to descend.

Right then I invented
the rich man's deer stand.
A hydrolic lifting elevator
(with quiet technology, of course)
that would raise you up
into your favorite tree
and deliver you back safely
to the ground
with a simple push
of a camouflaged button.

Too bad I didn't have one .
Going down was slower.

But once my big boots hit the ground,
I was ready to run home.

If I could have run, that is.

I waddled.
Like a fat green duck
with cockle bur wings.

I suppose I have to admit
that parts of it were fun.
Seeing the wildlife
and spending time with my husband
are always tops on my list.
The sunset was pretty.
The woods were peaceful.

And for a few hours last night,
I wasn't just a wife
or mother
or NaNa.

I was a tree.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thinkin' About Thankin'

Since this is the month
of Thanksgiving,
I thought it might be
appropriate to list
a few things that
I am thankful for.

Of course, this list
does not include the "givin's"
like my family and my house
and all the necessities in life.

These are just things
that sometimes go unnoticed,
unappreciated, or
taken for granted.

1. I'm thankful for music.
-For that a little silver disc
that can take me back to
a certain summer day-
make me feel the giddiness
of first love,
or warm me with Christmas carols
that speak of home and love
and memories.
-For the beat that makes me
do a silly dance while dusting-
or hum a bit while writing-
or cry when the words
touch my heart.

2. I'm thankful for good coffee.
-For that smell of roasted goodness
that fills the kitchen every morning-
for the gurgle of a new pot of
seasonal flavors like pumpkin
and peppermint and caramel.
-For the opportunity to relax
with a hot mug while I reflect
on my day and watch the sun rise.
-For the warmth of cookies and cake
that pair so well with it.

3. I'm thankful for my slippers.
-For the fuzzy funniness
of my footwear-
how they wrap my feet
like a blanket of comfort
and ward off the chill of my
wooden floors and ceramic tile.
-For the way I can glide in them
like an ice skater-
how they are always waiting bedside
in the morning to greet
my naked feet without complaint.

4. I'm thankful for my computer.
-That I can bond here with
family and friends-
and faceless bloggers who
relate to my world
because they have kids
or pets
or a not-so-ordinary life.
-That I can find recipes
I'll never make,
look at places I'll never go,
and keep tabs on a
bank account that
never seems to grow.

5. I'm thankful for pajama pants.
- For the ease of slip-on elastic
that conforms to late-night snacks,
and pizza stains.
-For the variety of colors
and patterns and material
that make wearing pajama pants
a real party.
-For the fact that I can wear them
to open the door when company calls,
get the mail,
take out the trash-
and of course, for sleeping.

6. I'm thankful for photographs.
- For the ability to freeze time-
to capture moments-
to stop aging and death and
celebrations and silliness-
to look back and feel the beach
or smell the Christmas tree
or touch my mother's hand.
-To have the capability to
smile again at my babies-
feel my heart leap with
electricity of my wedding day-
to study the faces and the fabric
of captured miracles.

7. I am thankful for color.
-For the fact that the
sky is not just blue,
but a million shades of blue.
-That the sunset holds strokes
of lilac and magenta and
soft peachy yellow.
-That I can paint whatever colors
I see across the field-
but also
the colors
I see in my mind.
-That colors of life change
and grow and shift
with the seasons.

8. I'm thankful for chocolate.
- For making plain oatmeal
cookies much more yummy.
-For being the treat for
well-behaved grand kids
and welcome company.
-For being that little bit of
naughty in an otherwise
sensible diet.
- For its comfort and euphoria
and tranquilizing effects
that make a sucky day
less sucky.

To God,
Maxwell House,
Old Navy,
and all the others.

You know who you are.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I've Got Your Number

The other day I had to
look up the phone number
of a local sporting goods store.

I grabbed a county phone book,
a tri-county phone book,
a yellow page directory,
a business directory,
a city directory-
and a 1998 toll-free numbers book.

By the time I found it,
I was grouchy,
and ready to shoot someone!

Of all the crazy things
that people invent-
why hasn't someone
improved the phone book?

I would love to see a universal
phone directory
that you just plug into your phone.
You then type in your request
for information.
It finds it
and dials it-
and that's that.

all modern phones
and cell phones have
a directory where you can
call "husband" "home"
or "grandma" in a split second
or at the sound of your voice.

But sooner or later,
you're gonna have to call
some new pizza place
or warranty center
or general info number.

That is when you will wish
your phone book was
new and improved.

How about some type of electronic
Rolodex like those Kindle books
where you have access to numbers
at the push of a button?

I am sorry,
but I admit that every time
I use the phone book, I curse.

I say the alphabet in my head
trying to figure out where
the crazy number will be found
in the giant number novel.
Then I squint my eyes
in an attempt to read it.
8? Or a 6?
1? or a 7?
3 or a six or an 8?
To me, it's
like little ants or
pepper flakes on the page.

Then I gotta go find my glasses
and by the time I get back,
the page is lost and I start over...

God forbid I have to look
up a government number!
Would it be listed in the city,
county, state, or federal section?
Do I connect to information,
the manager?
the treasurer?
the assessor?
the clerk?
Regional? District?
or community?

And, another thing-
how in the heck did some of
these people on the
other end of the line
get their jobs?
Rude, monotone,
uppity, little weasels
that pass the buck
and put you on hold for
the next available representative.

while I'm at it,
I might as well tell you
that nothing gets my goat more than
hearing a foreign accent pick up
when I am on a
complaining rampage
and want immediate action.

"Soory, Mz.Fazeer- You do not like this proo-duct? You want I shood return eet?"


I simply refuse to talk
to anyone I can't understand.

Or someone that has a
written script that they
keep repeating.

got side tracked there.
I usually don't rant.
(I leave that to my husband.)

I know, I know-
you are wondering why
I'm complaining about
the stupid phone book
instead of politics,
world hunger,
the environment,
or Whitney Houston's return.

All I can say is-
you must have dialed
the wrong blog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tech Too Late

I had a difficult time sleeping last night.

Could have been the two pots of
caramel kiss coffee I sipped all day,
or the fact that my son, his girlfriend,
and my daughter were on
an all day road trip
across two states in our
twelve year old pickup truck.

For whatever reason-
I ended up writing today's blog
in my head while I wrestled with
a lumpy pillow, hot flashes,
and a bed-hogging dog.

I got to thinking
how history and other events
might have turned out differently
if certain technology had been invented.

Like Text Messaging....

Like this one....Or this one
to Aunt Em from the National Weather Service:
Or another from Dorothy to Aunt Em and Uncle:

Or the Coast Guard to the Titanic?

How about
a scout to the wagon train?

Things would have turned out
differently if Juliet could have texted Romeo:

And how would this have
changed Pearl Harbor history?

This one from Hoffa to the FBI might
have helped:
Personally, I don't text.
I think it's a part of me
that can't stand misspelled words
and the fact that
I type slow.
A box of envelopes and
a book of stamps is cheaper.
And, in my case, faster!

But, yes, technology
came a little too late for some...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Turkey Boob Jobs

I'm the kind of gal
that likes to do research
on things that grace
my dinner table.

Brussels sprouts are related
to the cabbage family.

There are 343 calories
in a cup of eggnog.

Good aged steaks are
dried for up to 20 days.

You know-
stuff like that.

So, it was only reasonable
that I did a little research
on the turkey.

Personally, I prefer
the white meat of the bird.
Good thing.
Because my husband likes
the dark meat.
the only thing we
fight over at the table
is the wishbone.
(And occasionally, the
last piece of pie).

But I have discovered
some disturbing facts
about that juicy bird breast.

There are so many
growth hormones and steroids
used in turkey breeding today,
that birds bred for big breasts
cannot even stand up
due to the added weight.

The hens are so heavy
that they cannot be bred naturally,
but have to be artificially inseminated.

According to USDA Agricultural
Research Service poultry physiologist
Ann M. Donoghue,
“Essentially 100 percent of the nearly 300 million turkeys produced annually in the United States for consumption are the result of artificial insemination.”

And how about this startling fact?

As one industry publication explains, “If a seven pound (human) baby grew at the same rate that today’s turkey grows, when the baby reached 18 weeks of age, it would weigh 1,500 pounds.”

And did you know that
turkeys have heart attacks?

The United States Air Force
was doing tests on breaking the
sound barrier and when
the loud jets would fly over,
turkeys would run and drop dead.

So, I conclude that possibly
every turkey you've ever eaten
died from heart failure.
I mean, if you saw the butcher
coming for your throat
and your breasts were so heavy
that you couldn't even run-
wouldn't you go into
cardiac arrest?

Friends, I hope I haven't
discouraged you from
selecting a prime bird
for your holiday festivities.
That was not my intention.

But I might just stick
to the pie this year.

On second thought,
I better go do some research
on the pumpkin.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taking Time

There is something almost magical
about this time of year.

It's a resting place.
It's a quiet limbo-
the sweet meditation time
before Christmas shopping begins
and a whole new year opens up.

It's down time.
Reflecting time.

My time.

The yard work is done.
The garden is used up.
The summer parties
are over for another year.

So I take this time
to look back.
At all that I've done-
and all that I didn't do.

I take stock-
a private inventory
of my dreams.

I try to bury regrets
and magnify accomplishments.

I try to remember moments-
not months.

I grasp at smiles and laughter-
and I secretly discard
those days of tears and toil.

My blog is a diary.
A daily dose of life.
A memoir-
(that somehow)-
without quite realizing it-
I've left here like a pathway
to the past.

I hope my children
walk amid my words someday.
I hope they read and see and feel
each memory that I wrote.
I hope they laugh
and cry
and cringe
at stories of fantasy and fact.

As the pond reflects
another year almost gone,
I weep.

Tears of despair for what I
could not change.

Tears of joy
that God has loved me
and given me these
beautiful seasons...

...and this special time
to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sweet Tooth

It's my third day
without sweets
and I'm ready to pounce
on a grain of sugar
like a ravenous honey bear-
on steroids-
with a Rambo-like attitude.

My body refuses to function.
It refuses to do anything
until it gets a cookie.

My entire system
runs on chocolate and pastry.

My brain feel suffocated
and deprived.
My feet feel heavy-
my arms limp-
my world an empty
box of bran flakes
and tasteless fiber.

I'm suffering major withdrawal.

I am out to prove to myself
that it can be done.
That life can go on
without cake and donuts
and hazelnut coffee creamer
and shortcake.

I bought a bag of apples
with the sincere intent
of enjoying a few each day.

I just keep staring at them-
wondering what they are doing here.
These foreign fruits
that try to imitate sweetness.

Nice try.
But not quite the sugar rush
I was looking for.

I tell myself that I will
be able to enjoy pumpkin pie
at Thanksgiving-
and candied sweet potatoes-
and pecan rolls
and jello salad
and cheesecake squares-

I can go without sweets
for the next few weeks.

Napping helps.

It takes up time that I
would normally be using
to stick my head in the fridge
looking for the caramel dip-
or tearing up the cabinet looking
for a Mounds bar from Easter.

Betty Ford never had it this bad.

(Just warning ya.)

Don't cross me.
Don't tempt me.
Don't walk in front of me
with a Chips Ahoy.

And if you are skinny
and organically inclined-
Don't even talk to me!

The sweet has
all gone out of me...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stress Factors

Many women begin to freak out
this time of year.

They worry about
Thanksgiving gatherings,
the the beginning of
serious Christmas shopping.

Yet, a seasoned female,
(such as I)-
learns to utilize paper plates
and card tables on Thanksgiving,
is comfortable leaving the cooking
to Cracker Barrel,
and has no guilt letting the
little Keebler elves
do all the cookie baking.

My major concern
this time of year
consists of two things:

Finding winter shoes and buying a new coat.

That, my friends,
really freaks me out.

First of all-
what kind of shoes
does one wear in the winter?

Then my jeans are all too short,
my weak ankles wobble,
and I walk like a man in heels.

And, if so,
what color?
Does blue or yellow
match everything?
Or green- or pink-
or purple-or red?

Plain white sneakers look
too Easter-ish-
and black sneakers look too
"I work at Applebee's-(ish).

Lace up ankle shoes?
How high on the ankle?
Below the shin
or to the calf?
Eight eyelet laces,
or simply four?
A small heel-
or a chunky wedge?

I look like a flat footed
overweight Eskimo in those.

The snow gets in.

Too cold.

So, you see my dilemma.

Buying a coat is not any easier.
Do fifty-something women
wear plaid?
Pea coats?
Long, short, medium,
stadium, trench, puffy,
furry, wool, cotton,
or hooded?
Buttons, snaps, belts,
pockets, or zippers?
Leather, pleather,
or leopard?
Down, nylon, cashmere?
With or without a scarf?
Mittens or gloves?
Does it have to match your purse?

No one has ever given me answers
to these nagging questions in life.

I can throw a bird in the oven
and wait for the pop-up timer.
But choosing a coat?
No one has ever perfected that.

If it was up to me,
I'd forget the entire process.

I'd wear my furry socks
and my old pink robe
and stay warm inside
until Easter.

And that's another thing-
what do you wear
while you're shopping
for something to wear?

Life is full of mysteries.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ding Dong THe Witch Is Dead!

Well, it's hard to believe
that it is now November
and all the party nonsense
is finally over.

Instead of blood and gore,
my mind now switches
to turkey and pumpkin pie-
My what a huge leap!

For five years I have
enjoyed hosting these
Halloween parties,
but this year I just
feel that the time has come
to pass the torch to
someone else.
I think it would be fun to
go to a party given
by someone else.

It's sad to say,
but I think I'm retiring.

My kids say that by August
of next year,
I'll get that itch
and start planning another
big event.


They don't believe
I'm actually tired of
the effort that goes into it.
Every year I seem to get less help
from my kids,
even though their friends
are all invited and welcome, too.

Less people show up.

Too much candy
and too many hot dogs
are left over.

Post-party depression sets in
and I wonder why I tried so hard
to make it fun and unique.

But- yes,
it's been a wild ride-
a great trip-
and I'm thankful for the memories.

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